I was born outside Charlotte, North Carolina and grew up in a family in a rural setting with modest means, ambitions, and surroundings. Art and painting were foreign entities to me until I reached college. Even then in my 4th year, when I was absorbed by painting, I never had the financial courage to pursue it wholeheartedly, and concentrated instead on architecture, product design, and finally graphic design. Nonetheless my painting continued, although haltingly.

© 2011, Ron Rozzelle

It was not until the late 80's, after a series of design projects promoting Philip Morris (cigarettes), Ciba-Geigy (pesticides), and GKN (military hardware) that I made the decision to stop helping corporations promote questionable products and to make painting the foremost activity in my life.

I once heard a definition that described an artist as "a person who points to things". It has stuck with me for over 35 years and has served as the basis for my belief that Art is a vehicle for change. Initially the change for me was personal (with the self portraits). Later the change was social (with the figure paintings), and finally the change is cultural (with the environmental paintings).

In the early 90's my wife, Rosa Patton, and I bought 3.5 acres on a section of the Haw River in the rural piedmont of North Carolina.

We did not set out to preserve these woods, but from the start have felt it a privilege, and also a kind of wonder to live here. Seldom does a day go by when we are not overwhelmed by the beauty of a plant, insect, or some other critter. Since our initial purchase we have added 15+ acres and would like to acquire more acreage along the river in the future.

I have come to realize that sacrificing the biological integrity of land to abet human progress is a practice my generation must end or future generations will face hard realities. Our plans are to keep this wooded parcel undeveloped and uncut and pass it on like a well read book, as we know that we are only serving as its temporary stewards. Living here has changed the focus of my painting and provided my life with a renewed joy and purpose.